The littoral combat ship has completed its first at-sea test firing of the Surface-to-Surface Missile Module (SSMM), officials with Naval Sea Systems Command announced today. The test took place Feb. 28 and was conducted from the LCS Detroit off the coast of Norfolk, Virginia, according to a news release.
In the test, the ship fired the Army Longbow Hellfire Missile, a vertically fired ordnance designed to counter small boat threats. The SSMM is part of the developing surface warfare mission package for the LCS, one of the three major missions the ship was designed to accomplish. The Navy first announced in 2014 that the LCS would be armed with the missile, and officials have said that the service would begin equipping ships with the system by 2017.
This test was the first at-sea LCS launch of a missile from the SSMM, as well as the first vertical missile launched from the LCS, officials said.
"The testing aboard USS Detroit was an important milestone in advancing LCS capability, not only for the LCS community but for the entire fleet," Cmdr. Michael Desmond, the ship's commanding officer, said in a statement. "As small boat threats proliferate, the SSMM will give our ships added lethality."
The structural test fire event is required to ensure that the ship and its structures and equipment can safely sustain the impact of the weapons system firing, officials said in the release.
The surface warfare mission package for the LCS will begin developmental testing aboard the LCS Milwaukee later this year, with initial operational capability for the package planned for 2018, officials said.